LAKELAND, FL (September 20, 2012): Tom Phillips, Executive Director of both the Lakeland Area Mass Transit District (dba Citrus Connection) and the Polk Transit Authority, has been named to the Top 40 Under 40 List by Mass Transit Magazine. Mass Transit’s Top 40 Under 40 List recognizes outstanding young leaders in the public transit industry by showcasing individuals who have a capacity for innovation and have demonstrated leadership and a commitment to making an impact in transit. Criteria for the selection included such things as job commitment, industry involvement and contribution, achievement in his position and innovation in the industry. In one short year as Executive Director, Tom has introduced a day pass-based system, thus ending the antiquated 30-year old transfer-based system. Tom has enhanced public/private partnerships by a secured funding agreement with the largest area college (Polk State College), resulting in free rides for 20,000 students, faculty and staff. He has recently secured a similar funding agreement with Southeastern University and with Legoland, for their approximate 1000 employees called model citizens. Tom has also launched a Transit Development Plan, “My Ride”, to obtain community buy-in for a 2014 transit referendum that will ensure public transit to the 2000-square-mile Central Florida service area. “I’m extremely proud of this recognition” said Mr. Phillips. “In the short time I’ve been with this Agency, my staff and I have been able to launch multiple new initiatives, with the support of our Board of Directors, to take this transit system into the future as an efficient, effective agency as good stewards of the taxpayers’ dollars, and we feel we’ve only scratched the surface of this challenge.” Mr. Phillips manages 16 fixed routes and 11 ADA para-transit routes throughout the current service area; he oversees 150 employees and administers an annual budget of $10 million.